Why Your English Language Learners Listening Comprehension is Bad and What to Do About It

When English EFL language learners have listening comprehension problems it can be quite frustrating. If you use videos, CDs or audio cassette English Notes tapes, or even perhaps when speaking your learners can have their lesson input interrupted by insufficient listening comprehension skills. Comprehensible input (Krashen, 1989) is an essential part of any English or foreign language class.

Contributing Factors

These seven factors can directly or indirectly contribute to your learners' listening comprehension skills and comprehension.

1. Vocabulary

ELT author, researcher and lecturer Scott Thornbury said, ". count one hundred words of a (reading) passage. If more than ten of the words are unknown, the text has less than a 90% vocabulary recognition rate. Is actually also therefore, unreadable." (S. Thornbury, 2004) The same then is likely true regarding any listening passage. Remember, "You can never be too rich, too thin or have enough foreign language vocabulary" as the nugget of advice goes.

2. Rhyming Sounds

Have you ever taught or learned poems? If so, you'll remember that there are many types of rhyming patterns which can be used. Alliteration, onomatopoeia, assonance and consonance, simile, metaphor and allusion, among others, all lend specific ambience to written or spoken language in English.

Note: If you prefer or apparent quick refresher on these poetic elements, you should read, "How to Evoke Imagery, Emotions and Ideas in Writing Poetry That Captures Readers Imagination" and "How compose Poems That Capture the and Imagination of Your Readers" your author. (L.M. Lynch, 2007)

3. Idioms and Expressions

In every language are usually several frequently-used idioms and expressions that allow its speakers to convey nuances of thought to each other effortlessly and with greater clarity that simply "explaining" everything verbally. It can be helpful to learn as signs and symptoms as possible, but if you don't, the meanings lots of conversations or spoken exchanges may you "lost" into the listener.

4. Pronunciation

Everyone speaks differently and uses forms of connected speech in distinctive ways. Elements including elision, contraction, juncture, liaison, register, accommodation, aspect, intonation and others, affect pronunciation and speech patterns on an individual basis. When learners are unfamiliar, or ignorant of, these elements, listening comprehension can be significantly impacted.

5. Regional or National Accents

The same sentence when spoken by people from different first language (L1) backgrounds, regional locations, or ethnic backgrounds can be decisively variable. Unfamiliarity with such on the a part of EFL learners can cause a definite deficit of listening comprehension or "comprehensible input" as said before.

6. Grammar in Context

When grammar and its aspects are taught as "separate" themes, that is, outside of a typical relevant context, learners can be "handicapped" if you'll by lacking the knowledge of just when and how particular grammar structures are suggested by native speakers throughout an oral discourse or verbal exchange. So when they, the learners, hear a grammar structure that "know", but learned "out of context", they will "miss it", misinterpret it or not understand what they are hearing.

7. Language Rhythms

One with the big differences between English and say, Spanish, is that one language is "syllable-based" while another is "accent-based". This makes up about non-native speakers sounding "funny" when speaking a language other than their native language.

With epithets like, "oh, she luv-ed him but chew-no it wuzn't not no guud, mahn for demm boat."

These forms of epithets derive not from a lack of English or other foreign language skills in particular, but rather from pronunciation based on using an "incorrect" spoken language rhythm.